Authors: Helen Cooper
The Millionaire’s Games
(The Full Series)
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2012 by Helen Cooper
“It’s a bit early to be meeting your family isn’t it Ben?” Louise tried to keep her voice light but she was panicking inside. “I mean we’ve only been dating for a few weeks.”
“I want you to meet my family Louise. I have to go home any way, why not come?” Ben smiled at her and kissed her nose. “I want them to see how happy I am. I can’t wait to see Richard’s face.”
“Richard?” Louise sighed at his excitement. “Who is Richard?”
“My older brother. He is the apple of my father’s eye. He went to Harvard law school, he runs the family business and he’s a battle-axe. No one dares to try and interfere with the Beekman Companies any more. Not now that Richard has taken over.” Ben’s voice sounded rejected and envious.
“I’m guessing there’s no love lost there huh?” Louise laughed. “You are successful too Ben.”
“I’m a lowly associate in a small firm. He runs the family business. Dates supermodels. Or should I say sleeps with them and leaves.” He laughed bitterly.
“Is that what you wish you were doing?” Louise raised an eyebrow at him.
“No Louise. You know that’s not what I mean. I’m happy waiting on you, when you’re ready of course.” Ben smiled at her weakly. He was fed up of waiting for her to sleep with him. But he knew that if he pressured her, she would just leave him. He was hoping that she would see his family home and be impressed and sleep with him.
“I’ll come but only because I think you need the support.” Louise smiled at him while sighing inside. Why did she always find herself roped into situations like this? Not only did she not want to go to meet Ben’s family but she also wanted to break up with him. She studied his classical good looks: blond floppy hair, light blue eyes, and well dressed. She supposed many women would have been happy to date someone like him; especially when they found out he had a trust worth $50 million. But she thought he was dull and annoying. At 30, she thought he was too old to complain as much as he did and wished he would just grow up.
“Oh thank you Louise, you are my best girl.” He kissed her on the forehead and she wanted to tell him she wasn’t a little girl who needed her boo-boos kissed.
“Yeah, no problem. So shall we go and watch this movie then?” Louise prodded him towards the movie theatre. “It’s meant to be a good one.”
“Isn’t it an old movie?” He frowned at her.
“Yes, it’s an old French movie. Jules et Jim. I told you this already.”
“Look Louise, I don’t want you to be mad but do you mind if I take a rain check. Julia Jim just doesn’t sound like my type of movie.” He shrugged apologetically at her. “Look here’s $20, get some popcorn to go with the movie. I’ll catch you later.” He handed her the $20 and ran back towards his car.
Louise watched him get in his car and sighed. She should have seen this coming. It was the same thing he had done at the ballet the week before. She was pretty sure that his parent’s hadn’t raised him to be so rude and she wondered if he would treat any of his upper-class friends this way? Louise walked up and got her ticket and went and sat in the dark theatre waiting for the movie to start.
As she sat there, she knew she had to think of a way to get out of this quasi-relationship but she wasn’t sure how. She had met Ben at work, she was recently hired as a secretary for one of the other associates and Ben had invited her for drinks one night. She’d been pleasantly surprised. She hadn’t thought that a lawyer would want to take out a secretary but she wished that she had rejected that initial date. The law firm didn’t have a policy on interoffice dating and before she knew it, Ben had told everyone at the firm that they were an item. She wasn’t really sure why. She knew she was pretty but no more so than any other girl. She had no money, and no social status; she wasn’t in Ben’s league at all. As soon as one of the other secretaries had told her the information Ben was spreading she had gone to let him know that there had been a misunderstanding but she had walked in on him telling the senior partner of the firm that they were very happy together. She was scared that she would lose her job if she had tried to tell people that they weren’t together, so she had decided to give it a shot and date him for a bit.
That’s why she hadn’t slept with him. In fact, he thought she was a prude, something which made her laugh. But she just couldn’t bring herself to sleep with him. She no longer found him attractive and everything he said annoyed her. Frankly, she was ready to dump after the movie tonight but she supposed she could wait until after this weekend.
Louise packed a small suitcase with a variety of clothes. She had no idea what to pack. She knew that the Beekman’s were rich but did they dress formally for dinner? Would they expect her to wear a silk nightgown to work? She just had no clue what to expect in a world of money. She had grown up in a small city in Florida called Palm Bay, and going to Orlando to visit Disney was considered a big treat. Shoots, going to Applebee’s on a Friday night meant that your family had money. Louise wasn’t sure what to expect with one of the blue-blooded families of New York.
“Jackie, what should I take with me?” She wailed to her best friend on the phone. “I don’t even think I own the type of clothes they expect me to wear.”
“Louise, don’t even worry about it. You know you’re going to be done with that nitwit Ben by the end of the weekend. I say wear whatever you want, the scrubbier the better. Shock em, why don’t ya?” Jackie laughed down the phone. She was originally from England and so more familiar with the higher classes. “Look luv, I gotta go back to work now but call me when you arrive at the palace okay?”
“Yes Jackie, have fun.” Louise laughed.
“Yeah right. Seeya.” Jackie hung up and went back to her job of selling shoes to the rich wives of Wall Street brokers. The women in the store always looked down on Jackie but none of them knew that she actually had a Masters from Princeton University and her Uncle was a Lord back in England. She wanted to be a writer and so was working in the shoe store to research the industry. Louise thought Jackie was fabulous. They’d been best friends ever since they had worked together at a call center. They had bonded over their hatred of the job.
Ding-dong. Louise sighed as he heard her doorbell ringing. She was sure it was Ben and she wasn’t even fully packed. “Fuck it, I’ll take whatever.” Louise mumbled to herself as she flung a handful of clothes into the case.
“Hey.” She said breathlessly as she opened the door.
“I was wondering where you were. We need to go now before traffic gets bad.” Ben kissed her on the cheek and Louise nodded. They walked down to the car and Louise gasped at the sight of the limousine and chauffeur.
Ben grinned, ”Richard sent the limo up to pick up me and David. So we get to drive to The Hamptons in style.”
“David?” Louise looked at him confused. “Who is David?”
“My younger brother.” Ben looked at her bemused. “I guess I never mentioned him before huh? He’s a mess. He is trying to become an actor and so basically does nothing.”
“Oh, I see.” And she did. Obviously David had no hold on the family company and so Ben didn’t see him as a threat. “Is he a lot younger than you?”
“No, actually he is your age.”
“Yeah. And hoping to be the next Brad Pitt.” He laughed.
“How old is Richard?”
“35, though you would think he was 50, the way he acts.” Ben looked out of the window as he spoke but she could see the stony look on his face. She suddenly felt as if this weekend could turn out to be a right drag.
“So are either of them married?” She asked curious to find out what sort of lady would marry into this family.
“Yeah right. Neither of them are close to marriage. In fact we will likely be married before either of them even have a serious girlfriend.”
She gulped in fear. Please God, don’t let him propose to me this weekend, please please. She closed her eyes and sent up a quick prayer. That would be the worst thing that could happen to her. She knew that it would also teach her a lesson about being such a wuss, but that really wasn’t a lesson she wanted to learn.
They pulled up to an unassuming apartment in Brooklyn and Ben made a call. “We’re here David.” He hung up the phone and smiled at Louise. “David thinks he’s showing it to the man by living in Brooklyn but everyone knows it’s the rich mans part of Brooklyn.”
Louise smiled at him weakly. She was already annoyed with Ben and didn’t think the weekend would go well if she strangled him before they arrived. She sat back in surprise and admiration as David bounded into the car. He was tall and tan, with golden blond spiky hair and bright blue-green eyes. He had a huge smile on his face and he looked like a live Ken doll. “Hey Ben,” he slapped his brother on the shoulder and turned to Louise.
“Hey beautiful, I’m David. I assume you are the latest girl who has been beguiled by my brother?”
Louise couldn’t keep her eyes off of David’s lips. They were the perfect accompaniment to his white teeth. “Hi, yeah. I’m Ben’s friend.” She could barely get the words out and she didn’t notice Ben’s annoyance at her words. “My name’s Louise.”
“Nice to make your acquaintance Louise. Are you a lawyer as well?” He stared into her eyes as he spoke and she got lost in his spell.
“Oh no, no.” She laughed. “I’m just a secretary.” She was pretty sure she fell in love with him when he beamed at her in delight and said, “That’s awesome. I never could stand lawyers. They are way too stuffy for me.” He laughed and hit Ben across the shoulder, “Except for you Ben, except for you.” He winked at Louise as he spoke and she smiled.
“Well, that’s enough David. We should be on our way. Mummy and Daddy are expecting us.” Ben’s voice was petulant and huffy.
“Oh, they don’t care about us. You know they really want to see Richard and find out how many more millions he has made for all of us.” Ben lay back on the seat and made himself comfortable. “Has Ben told you of our superstar brother?”
“Somewhat.” Louise nodded he head as David offered her some wine. “Yes, thanks.” She took the glass from him and sipped at the wine. “This is good.” She smiled at David as he chugged his wine like it was beer.
“One of the perks of being filthy rich is the ability to buy a good vintage bottle of wine.” David grinned at her as Ben frowned at him. “Oh dear, big brother is looking at me disapprovingly. Should I not be talking about the money?” He laughed and winked at Louise.
She smiled at him shyly. This was someone she could get to know. David was the sort of guy she wanted in her life: handsome, carefree and fun. It was a pity he was Ben’s brother. She sighed as she looked over at Ben, who was pouting. She rolled her eyes and turned away from him. How could a grown man like him act so immature? And to think he was an attorney to boot.
As she sat back in the leather seats of the limo, she wondered at how she found herself in this position. She had moved to New York with dreams like everyone else, she had wanted to be a board game designer. People always laughed when she told them of her plans. They thought she was going to say model or actress, like every other halfway decent girl who moved to the City. But no, she wanted to create board games. She’d been in the City for 3 years now and was no closer to her dream but she was getting there. She had to, for John. She bit her lip as she thought about her childhood with John; all the board games they had played. She had to create something to honor his memory. She shook her shoulders to stop herself from tearing up. She couldn’t cry, not here. Not in front of them. They wouldn’t understand.
“So, what’s the plan for the weekend?” She turned to David and smiled, trying to stop the tears from flowing. Now was not the time to ponder on the past.
“I figure we can do whatever you want sweetness.” He stared at her as he sat back admiring what he saw. Louise was one of those unassuming beauties. She had shoulder-length black hair, brown eyes and the sweetest smile that most people had ever seen. She also didn’t realize how captivating she was; there was an air of loneliness around her that drew people in and made them want to embrace her.